26 Aug 2018: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS1 Related
SOCIAL ISSUES
1. Swachh India
B. GS2 Related
POLITY
1. How CJIs have involved senior colleagues in major cases?
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. Venezuela's economy is in freefall
EDUCATION
1. The world’s biggest exam
C. GS3 Related
ECONOMY
1. BIS to set standards for the services sector too
ENVIRONMENT
1. Mullaperiyar Dam or Mullaiperiyar Dam
2. Bengal Florican/ Bengal Bustard
3. Great Indian Bustard/ Indian Bustard
DISASTER MANAGEMENT
1. Why does Kerala need more funds?
D. GS4 Related
E. Editorials
F. Tidbits
G. Prelims Fact
H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions 

A. GS1 Related

Category: SOCIAL ISSUES

1. Swachh India

Context

  • The research team, based at the Centre for Economic and Social Studies, Hyderabad, completed field work in 12 months in 2015-16, studying Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and Andhra Pradesh.
  • This Field study evaluates one of India’s most substantial policy commitments, the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), to arrive at telling and cautionary conclusions.
  • The NRHM identifies 18 States as having weak public health indicators and health infrastructure; the major determinants here are nutrition, water, and sanitation.
  • The mission, furthermore, requires State-level departments dealing with water and sanitation to promote local community involvement.

Details

  • The first hypothesis is that in Open Defecation-Free (ODF) villages, functioning local bodies and their interactions with Panchayati Raj institutions (PRIs) are better than they are in non-ODF villages.
  • The second is that the availability of protected water and sanitation may significantly impact household morbidity and the incidence of epidemics at the community level.

Class issues

  • Clear class divisions emerge across all villages, with poorer residents often unaware of the dangers of not washing fruit or vegetables before cooking or eating them
  • The poorest have to use sand or ash to clean their hands after defecation, as they have almost no easy access to clean water.

B. GS2 Related

Category: POLITY

1. How CJIs have involved senior colleagues in major cases?

Background

  • Chief Justice Dipak Misra’s role as Master of the Roster was called into question by the other four judges in the Supreme Court collegium. While their complaint was about cases being “assigned selectively” to benches of “preference”
  • The four collegium judges who complained about case allocation had felt that cases were allocated to junior hand-picked judges against the conventions of the court.

What is the study about?

  • The study helps us understand, how have members of the collegium been represented in major cases (those with bench sizes of three or more)?
    • Judges, whose rank was 2 to 5, were considered Collegium judges (Rank 1 was the CJI).
  • This study looks at the numbers since January 1999, when the collegium was expanded to five judges

Results

  • It shows that the representation of collegium members other than the CJI — that is, those ranked two to five — is among the lowest during Chief Justice Misra’s term.
    • Until January 12, when Justices J. Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B. Lokur and Kurian Joseph held their unprecedented press conference, collegium members (two to five) were involved only in 29.3% of the judgments delivered.
    • In Justice Misra’s case, the involvement of other collegium judges increased after the January 12 press conference; overall, as of July 31, it went up to 33.9%.
    • In nearly two-thirds of the cases referred to various benches (of three judges and above), Chief Justice Misra did not appoint a single Collegium judge other than himself.
  • Of the 17 CJIs since January 1999, it was only during Justice G.B Pattanaik’s term as CJI that the representation of the four collegium members was less. At 29.2%, it was less only by the smallest of fractions.
    • Also, Justice Pattanaik was CJI only for just a little over a month, during which 24 judgments with benches of three or more judges were delivered.
  • At the other end of the spectrum, former CJIs H.L. Dattu (68%), R.M. Lodha (67.5%), K.G. Balakrishnan (55.1%) and A.S. Anand (63.5%) used other collegium members most in cases involving three judges or more, going by the judgment percentages.

Overall Judgements from 1999

  • There were over 2,400 such judgments between January 1999 and July 2018, of which 224 were delivered by Constitution Benches — those with five judges or more.
  • The average representation for collegium judges (barring the CJI) in major cases was 52.1% for this period.

Category: INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

1. Venezuela’s economy is in freefall

Context

  • Hyperinflation, power cuts, and food and medicine shortages are driving millions of Venezuelans out of the country. The country is facing the worst inflations.

Concerns

  • The biggest problem facing Venezuelans in their day-to-day lives is hyperinflation.
  • $1 US = 248,000 Venezuelan Bolivars, at the official exchange rate
  • Prices have been doubling every 26 days on average. This has resulted in many Venezuelans struggling to afford basic items such as food and toiletries.
  • With small items like a cup of coffee costing a whopping 2.5m bolivars

Major Cause

  • Venezuela is rich in oil, and has the largest proven reserves in the world. But it’s this exact wealth that underpins many of its economic problems.
  • Its oil revenues account for about 95% of its export earnings.
    • Venezuela’s economy depends mostly on oil. That was great when a barrel of oil was worth $100 a barrel in 2013 and 2014. Now oil prices have fallen to as low as $28.36 — the lowest point in 12 years. As long as oil prices stay historically low, Venezuela will struggle to grow.
  • Because it has so much oil, Venezuela has never bothered to produce much else. It sells oil to other countries, and with the dollars it earns, imports the goods Venezuelans want and need from abroad.
    • But when the oil price plummeted in 2014, Venezuela was faced with a shortfall of foreign currency.
    • This in turn made it difficult to import goods at the same level as before, and imported items became scarcer.
  • The result: businesses increased prices and inflation rose.

Other Causes for Inflation

  • According to Transparency International, Venezuela is the ninth most corrupt country in the world.
    • Members of Maduro’s family and immediate support have been implicated in drug smuggling and hundreds of billions of dollars are believed to have been syphoned out of the economy.
  • It is the government’s willingness to print extra money and regularly hike the minimum wage in an effort to regain popularity with Venezuela’s poor,
  • Years of excessive government spending on welfare programs, poorly managed facilities and dilapidated farms set the stage for the crisis.
  • The government is also increasingly struggling to get credit after it defaulted on some of its government bonds.
  • With creditors less likely to take the risk of investing in Venezuela, the government has again taken to printing more money, further undermining its value and stoking inflation.

Category: EDUCATION

1. The world’s biggest exam

Introduction

  • The education system in India is not able to make individuals transform as bread winners. In the light of this there is constant run for jobs and the sheer scale of applications filed for Govt jobs is so huge for less accommodations it takes.

Some numbers

  • About 47.5 lakh candidates are applying for some 60,000 jobs in Railways as a technician or engine driver (called loco pilots now)
  • Railways will be mounting an even bigger logistical exercise, to test a mind-boggling 1.9 crore applicants for a possible 63,000 ‘Level 1, Category C’ jobs
  • Over ten lakh aspirants applied for 2,000 vacancies of probationary officers in the State Bank of India.
  • Over 7.5 lakh applications were received for about 13,000 police constable jobs in the Rajasthan Police. This number would have been undoubtedly higher if domicile restrictions had not applied.

Cause of concern

  • For the Assistant Loco Pilot job, lakhs of diploma and degree holders in engineering have applied.
  • And for the khalasi job, reports indicate that over 2.5 lakh engineers, lakhs of graduate and postgraduate degree holders, and even those with tertiary degrees have applied.

Why are they getting so many applications?

  • It is because these Jobs are considered secure (permanent government or bank jobs that provide pension) attract staggeringly disproportionate numbers of job-seekers in India.
  • Safe means that you will not be sacked. The clamour for government jobs shows a tacit acceptance of the lack of preparedness to face the requirements of the real world.
  • The perception is that getting a government job might be a problem, but once past the post, one can relax till retirement.

Study by the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies and the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung

  • 65% of the youth surveyed said their first preference was for a government job;
  • Only 7% said they wanted a private sector job.
  • Seventy-three per cent ranked jobs as the issue they were most worried about.

Conclusion

  • In India, many acquire an education, particularly higher education, not because they are particularly interested in history or politics or economics or engineering, but because they want, they need, a job.
  • This might be attributed to a pervasive lack of confidence among our youth
  • They acquire this degree in the face of considerable competition and often at considerable cost.

C. GS3 Related

Category: ECONOMY

1. BIS to set standards for the services sector too

Context

  • Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) is in talks with industries and all major stakeholders to set new standards to measure quality of services offered to consumers across different sectors, including telecom, aviation, e-commerce and healthcare.

Current Status

  • BIS sets the quality regulations for various products from gold to bottled water

Details

  • BIS standards is set to formulate a framework for quality services that should be provided to consumers and also talk about the benchmarks to deal with consumer complaints or after sales service in an effort to ensure quality in the services sector.
  • So it has pointed out that the initial focus will be on 12 champion services sectors identified by the government. These include IT, tourism and hospitality, transport and logistics, accounting and finance services, legal services, communication services and construction.
  • It has also been decided that the BIS will set up a separate ‘divisional council’ for services in a month’s time.
    • Under this, different technical committees will be set up — one for each service.
      • The committees will have various stakeholders such as government officials, experts and industry representatives.

What was the need?

  • The process was initiated after concerns over lack of standardisation, particularly with regards to after-sales service, in their feedback to the Ministry of Consumer Affairs.
  • In a poll, online community network LocalCircles found that in the absence of defined customer service standards in the country, a majority of consumers were not happy with after-sales services.
  • As per the poll, 43% feel that mobile handset and computer manufacturers are the worst in after-sales services,
    • Followed by white goods firms (38%) and automobile companies (11%).
    • About 93% of respondents said brands should at least acknowledge complaints from users within 72 hours.
  • Many consumers complained that customer service numbers of many companies do not work
Bureau of Indian standards (BIS)
  • BIS is the National Standard Body of India established under the BIS Act 1986 for the harmonious development of the activities of standardization, marking and quality certification of goods and for matters connected therewith. 
  • BIS has been providing traceability and tangibility benefits to the national economy in a number of ways – providing safe reliable quality goods; minimizing health hazards to consumers; promoting exports and imports substitute; control over proliferation of varieties etc. through standardization, certification and testing.
  • BIS has its Headquarters at New Delhi.

Category: ENVIRONMENT

1. Mullaperiyar Dam or Mullaiperiyar Dam

 

  • It is a masonry gravity dam on the Periyar River in Idukki District of Kerala
  • The dam situated at the confluence of the Mullayar and Periyar rivers
  • The Periyar National Park in Thekkady is located around the dam’s reservoir.
  • The dam was built in the late 1800s in the princely state of Travancore (present-day Kerala) and given to British-ruled Madras Presidency on a 999-year lease in 1886.
  • The dam is located in Kerala on the river Periyar, but is operated and maintained by Tamil Nadu state.
  • The agreement was renewed in 1970.
    • Tamil Nadu was given rights to the land and the water from the dam as well as the authority to develop hydro-power projects at the site, and Kerala would receive rent in return.

Purpose of the dam

  • The Periyar river which flows westward of kerala Arabian sea was diverted eastwards to flow towards the Bay of Bengal to provide water to the arid rain shadow region of Madurai in Madras Presidency which was in dire need of a greater supply of water than the small Vaigai River could provide
  • For Tamil Nadu, the Mullaperiyar dam and the diverted Periyar waters act as a lifeline for Theni, Madurai, Sivaganga and Ramnad districts, providing water for irrigation and drinking, and also for generation of power in Lower Periyar Power Station.

Kerala Government

  • It states that it does not object to giving water to Tamil Nadu, their main cause of objection being the dam’s safety as it is more than 100 Years old.
    • Mullaperiyar dam has leaks and cracks in the structure. Increasing the level would add more pressure to be handled by the already leaking dam
  • Idukki district, where the dam is located, is earthquake-prone and has experienced multiple low-intensity quakes. So, the dam is situated in a seismically active zone
    • A 2009 report by IIT Roorkee stated that the dam “was likely to face damage if an earthquake of the magnitude of 6.5 on the Richter scale struck its vicinity when the water level is at 136 feet”
  • It poses danger to life and property to people living downstream
    • Three million people living in the vicinity of the reservoir.

Tamil Nadu

  • On the orders of the CWC, the Tamil Nadu government lowered the storage level from 152 feet to 142.2 feet then to 136 feet, conducted safety repairs and strengthened the dam
  • It becomes difficult to sustain agriculture if water level is not increased
    • One estimate states that “the crop losses to Tamil Nadu, because of the reduction in the height of the dam, between 1980 and 2005 is a whopping ₹ 40,000 crores.
  • The dam has been strengthened and there will be no threat to people and the tremors that felt in neighborhood was minor

Other Issues between them

  • With Kerala, Tamil Nadu has issues on several river waters, such as Parambikulam-Aliyar, Siruvani of the Bhavani sub-basin, Neyyar, and the proposal for linking the Pamba and Achankovil rivers of Kerala with Vaippar of Tamil Nadu. But, in the case of Karnataka, Cauvery is the only river to be considered.

Why controversy?

  • 2006: SC allowed Tamilnadu to raise water height to 142 feet after strengthening the dam. (Total height of the dam is 176 feet) while permissible is 152 feet.
  • But Kerala passed a law the Kerala Irrigation and Water Conservation (Amendment) Act, 2006, to prevent the neighboring State (TN) from raising the water level beyond 136 feet.
  • Tamilnadu challenged Kerala’s dam height law in Supreme Court.

May 2014: Supreme Court order

  • Kerala dam Law of 2006 is unconstitutional and void. Because Mullaperiyar is a dispute between two states. In such disputes, one state legislature cannot unilaterally enact law in its own favor.
  • Besides, in 2006 SC allowed Tamilnadu to raise water height. By enacting this law, Kerala is interfering with our judicial function.
  • Permanent Supervisory Committee
    • The Committee shall inspect the dam periodically, more particularly, immediately before the monsoon and after the monsoon and keep close watch on its safety and recommend measures which are necessary.
    • The Committee shall be free to take appropriate steps and issue necessary directions to the two States Tamil Nadu and Kerala or any of them if so required for the safety of the Mullaperiyar dam in an emergent situation. Such direction shall be obeyed by all concerned.

2. Bengal Florican/ Bengal Bustard

 

  • IUCN: Critically Endangered
  • It is a bustard species native to the Indian subcontinent, Cambodia and Vietnam.
  • It inhabits lowland dry, or seasonally inundated, natural and semi-natural grasslands, often interspersed with scattered scrub or patchy open forest.
  • The key threats are the extensive loss and modification of grasslands through drainage, conversion to agriculture and plantations, overgrazing, inappropriate cutting, burning and ploughing regimes, heavy flooding, invasion of alien species, scrub expansion, dam construction and inappropriate and illegal development
    • The shift from traditional crops like lentils and legumes to cash crops like soya and cotton led to intensive use of pesticides, killing off insects that dominate the bird’s diet.
    • Changing crop patterns and agricultural practices affected the bird too

Saving strategies

  • Measures to save the bird have to be flexible, multi-layered and site specific.
  • A sensitive and inclusive approach that takes into account the difficulties that local communities face is important.
  • Core breeding areas must be inviolate, and protected from over-grazing and other anthropogenic pressure.
  • Other potential breeding sites need to be protected and restored.
  • Florican habitats must be declared Eco-Sensitive Zones to regulate land use and development.

3. Great Indian Bustard/ Indian Bustard

 

  • IUCN: Critically Endangered
  • Countries occurrence: India; Pakistan
  • It inhabits arid and semi-arid grasslands with scattered short scrub, bushes and low intensity cultivation in flat or gently undulating terrain. Birds congregate in traditional grassland patches (mostly identified) which are less disturbed, to breed during mid-summer and monsoon.
  • Historically, widespread hunting for sport and food precipitated its decline, accelerated by vehicular access to remote areas. High intensity poaching still continues in Pakistan.

Category: DISASTER MANAGEMENT

1. Why does Kerala need more funds?

 

  • Initial estimates put the loss at ₹20,000 crore but officials feel the extent of the damage could be more than twice the figure.

Current funding Status

  • Following aerial surveys of the flood-affected areas by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh, the Central government announced an interim relief of ₹600 crore for the State against a demand for ₹2,000 crore as emergency assistance.
  • The Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund has mopped up ₹535 crore by way of donations by individuals, institutions and organisations across the world.

Most hit are the Middle Class

  • With virtually no experience in handling a disaster of this magnitude, the middle and lower middle class sections will find it difficult to overcome the human tragedy
  • Unlike the lower income groups which come under the government’s support mechanism or the higher income class which is capable of absorbing the impact, middle class families will find themselves incapable of rebuilding their shattered lives.
  • It is also significant that most of these families inhabit vulnerable areas prone to floods and landslips

Losses in various sectors

  • Traders and owners of Micro Small and Medium Enterprises are also badly affected.
  • The preliminary estimate of the crop loss is pegged at ₹1,345 crore. More than 3,00,000 farmers suffered damage to various crops spread over 56,439 hectares.
  • More than the damage and loss of infrastructure, it is the impact on livelihoods, incomes and human development that will take time to rebuild.

D. GS4 Related

Nothing here for today!!!

E. Editorials

Nothing here for today!!!

F. Tidbits

Nothing here for today!!!

G. Prelims Fact

Nothing here for today!!!

H. Practice Questions for UPSC Prelims Exam

Question 1. Bhoomi Rashi portal is developed by 
  1. Ministry of Commerce
  2. Ministry of Agriculture
  3. Ministry of Rural development
  4. Ministry of Road Transport and Highways

See

Answer

 

Question 2. Consider the following statements about Boka Saul:
  1. It is a wheat variety grown in Assam
  2. It recently got GI tag
Which of the above statements is/are incorrect?
 
  1. Only 1
  2. Only 2
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

See

Answer

 

Question 3. With reference to National Statistical Commission (NSC)
  1. It is a statutory Body
  2. Established on the recommendations of the Rangarajan Commission
  3. It is an attached office under Central Statistical Office
Which of the above statements is/are correct?
 
  1. Only 3
  2. Only 2
  3. Only 1 and 3
  4. Only 2 and 3

See

Answer

 

Question 4. Kowsar is a medium-range, land-based anti-ship missile made by
 
  1. Pakistan
  2. Saudi Arabia
  3. Iran
  4. Israel

See

Answer

 

Question 5. Krem puri recently in news is in the state of
 
  1. Odisha
  2. Jammu and Kashmir
  3. Meghalaya
  4. Sikkim

See

Answer

 

I. Practice Questions for UPSC Mains Exam

  1. Visual Media has become a battle ground for high intense debates, a platform for sharp judgements devoid of facts and news. Critically Analyze.

  2. The Kerala Floods is a sign of strong commitment of people and strength of local community as first responders. But lack of muscle is reflected in Sustainable development. Do you agree? Justify your View.
  3. What is Stoicism? Illustrate with example from your personal experiences.

Also, check previous Daily News Analysis

 

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